"Inauspicious Beginnings" shows that at the end of the Cold War many experts in the international community expected a new world order to emerge in which international security institutions - such as the United Nations Security Council and NATO - would play a major role in preventing and ending conflicts. But while the 1990s proved to be a decade of international insecurity and major humanitarian disasters, thus demonstrating the need for a wider and more efficient system of security institutions, the principal powers failed to create them. Instead, the emerging order was marked by the overwhelming power of the United States, which, under the Bush Sr and Clinton administrations, did not see such a system as a necessity.The authors detail how the Bush and Clinton administrations relied on catering to allies and building large coalitions to deal with major international security challenges, while other principal powers were either pre-occupied with their domestic problems or deferred to the United States.
As a consequence, on the eve of 11 September 2001 the United Nations Security Council remained an older, outmoded power configuration incapable of responding efficiently to the with novel challenges besetting it. Its relevance has been further questioned by the unilateral occupation of Iraq by the United States.